China PR international and Beijing FC midfielder Li Ke, Guam national team skipper Jason Cunliffe and Qatar and Al Duhail forward Ismail Mohammad are the latest Asian stars to pledge their support behind the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) #BreakTheChain series.
The mass awareness campaign, which today marks one month since its launch, has been widely supported by the AFC Member Associations with more than 120 players and officials lending their voices to stop the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak by adhering to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines, while galvanising millions to remain calm and positive during these unprecedented times.
Former Arsenal midfielder Li, also known to fans as Nico Yennaris, was the first-ever foreign-born player to don the China PR colours when he made his debut against the Philippines in June 2019, said: “In football, we rely on tactics and strategy to win matches. There is no manual written to deal with this crisis, so it is up to us to write this script and there has never been a chapter more important in our history than this pandemic.
“There is no easy solution here, but I want to remind everyone that all of us can be the game-changers of this outbreak. Let us do our part to break the chain to emerge from this unprecedented chapter in our lives stronger and more united than before.”
Meanwhile, Cunliffe, whose hat-trick against Bhutan helped Guam seal their berth in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Second Round Asian Qualifiers, stressed on the importance of maintaining good mental health, adding: “During these challenging times, it is very important to look after yourselves. Isolation can have a discouraging impact on our minds so let us all be attentive to our wellbeing.
“We need to fuel our minds with positive messages, and this break the chain campaign underlines the reality that we are not alone in fighting this pandemic.
“This virus has shown us that we need to depend on each other and to uplift one another. Someday soon, we will be reunited with our loved ones, but in the meantime, let’s continue to extend compassion and kindness to our family and friends. I urge everyone to stay connected, to keep yourselves occupied and continue to live meaningful and purposeful lives.”
The #BreakTheChain messages of hope and solidarity continue to expand its reach into new territories each day as the list of Asian legends grow in numbers. Several more icons including Japan and Singapore international centurions Maya Yoshida and Baihakki Khaizan as well as 2019 AFC Player of the Year nominee Tomoaki Makino from Urawa Red Diamonds are scheduled to appear in the next wave of videos.
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